Meta claims new AI will help pharmaceutical companies make new drugs

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has created an AI-based computer program, ESMFold, that is capable of predicting how millions of proteins are structured, in a technological development that could be used in the development of pharmaceuticals.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Meta AI, the company’s research department, used ESMFold to generate a public database cataloging the predicted structure of 617 million proteins.

Proteins are composed of long strands of amino acids and their structures are determined by a DNA genome. In the human body, proteins are essential to the function of cells and organs.

Pharmaceutical companies use proteins to develop drugs that treat many ailments and diseases, including some types of cancer, HIV, and heart disease. Those companies have started to use AI to create new drugs for diseases, some of which currently have no cure.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has developed its own AI computer program that can predict protein structure, through its subsidiary company DeepMind Technologie. They have developed the AI AlphaFold, which predicted the structure of  214 million proteins.

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